Sunday, January 4, 2009
Gordon Smith (BYU) offers some advice for young law scholars, from the perspective of someone who has written 15-20 tenure review letters over the past few years. I think his final point is often overlooked by young scholars, to their detriment:
You probably can't afford a publicist, so you will have to market yourself. This piece of advice comes from a very basic insight: if I haven't heard of you before I get the call or the email inviting me to review your work, that's a bad sign for you. I almost always accept invitations to write tenure letters simply because I believe this form of service is important. Rarely am I asked to write a review for someone who is completely unknown to me, but it happens. And it's hard for me to imagine writing a letter about how significantly you have influenced the field if I have never heard of you. Send reprints. Get yourself invited as a guest blogger on a popular law professor blog. Go to conferences. Host your own conference. Invite important figures in your field to give talks at your law school. Find a mentor. Do whatever it takes to get to know the players in your field, and cultivate those relationships.
I talked about this at the 2007 AALS Annual Meeting, Building and Marketing Your Scholarly "Brand"